GMail Reflections

Now that the hype is over, I finally was able to procure an invite to join GMail from my new buddy, Bradley. And I must say, they have a very interesting approach to Web-based e-mail.

I won’t get into how it works, since numerous articles have been written about it. I will say that the liberal use of JavaScript makes GMail much more usable than most Webmail programs. I admire the use of iframes to allow the back and forward buttons to still work while maintaining the “never reload” idea. I also really like the fact that I can leave GMail open in my browser all day and not have to repeatedly log in.

The best feature, as far as I’m concerned, has nothing to do with JavaScript. It’s the organization of e-mails into discussions. I really like being able to look back to previous e-mails that I replied to. I think the whole thing will fall apart, however, once you get an extremely long e-mail thread like those that tend to happen in business (sometimes 25-30 replies). But still, it’s the first change to the standard one-at-a-time e-mail paradigm that we’ve all been living in for the past decade or so.

Ultimately, I’m not sure I’ll make much use of GMail as I have enough e-mail accounts and I don’t feel like telling all my friends and family to switch my e-mail address again.

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